President-elect Joe Biden announced late Thursday that he intends to nominate Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a former top union leader, to head the Labor Department.
Walsh, a Democrat, was sworn in to serve a second term on Jan.1, 2018. He is the 54th mayor of Boston, in office since 2014. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1997 until 2014, representing the Thirteenth Suffolk district.
Biden said that if confirmed, Walsh “would be the first union member to serve in this role in nearly half a century.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden said, “Walsh is working to support frontline workers, including funding emergency child care and other resources essential workers need to weather the pandemic.”
As the current chairman of Climate Mayors, a group of 470 mayors nationwide, Biden added, Walsh “knows that we can create good-paying union jobs by investing in clean energy.”
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If confirmed as Labor secretary, all eyes will be on whether Walsh decides to amend or scrap Labor’s fiduciary prohibited transaction exemption to align with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest.
Industry officials anticipate that the Biden administration will pull back that Labor rule and toughen it.
Fred Reish, partner at Faegre Drinker in Los Angeles, told ThinkAdvisor on Thursday in an email message that Walsh “as might be expected, … is pro-labor and fairly liberal. Based on that, I imagine his views of a strong fiduciary standard would be favorable. As a former labor leader, he is also likely to be deeply interested in solving the underfunding issues affecting many multi-employer pension plans.”